Archives for November 2014

Giving Thanks.

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Moments like this are why I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

I try to be thankful, every day, for all of the good things that I have in my life. But, when there is so much to do and so little time to do it and the evening news only reports the bad things that happen, it’s easier to become frustrated and pessimistic.

Fortunately, Thanksgiving (and the prospect of spending time with the people that I love most amidst copious amounts of food), has arrived to snap me out of it.

In the spirit of today’s holiday, here is a short list of things that I am grateful for:

My husband. He tolerates all my quirks and moods and makes me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world even when I haven’t washed my hair in three days.

My sweet baby girl. She’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. She is making me a better person every single day and just seeing her smile makes my life.

My mom, who is always there. My aunt, who will also do just about anything for us, including acting as our own personal post office so our packages don’t get stolen from our front step. My brother, who is the number one fan of this blog (even though he would never admit it) and who finally joined Facebook this year so that I can enjoy his sense of humor on a daily basis.

The world’s best dog. Tracy, our poor first daughter is often overlooked in favor of her baby sister and I feel incredibly guilty and undeserving of the love (and daily protection from the mailman) that she continues to give us.

Friends. Even though we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like, I know that I can pick up the phone and we’ll pick up right where we left off. A special shout-out goes to my BFF of 20 (!) years, Bridget. Sure, I could have come up with Chicago Hope: The Board Game myself, but it would not have been nearly as fun (plus, I’m pretty sure she came up with the idea for the popsicle stick character/game pieces, which will really the be major selling point for the game when we finally bring it to Milton Bradley).

My job. I have always loved my field, but after a couple of years of feeling kind of lost on my career path, I am finally in a position that is a really good fit for me. And, without work I never would have connected with colleagues who have turned into good friends.

Technology. Specifically, smartphones. Right now, I’m stuck with an ancient Blackberry while I wait for a new phone. I have been without instant access to my e-mail, calendar, and Instagram for a few weeks and it’s driving me bananas (#firstworldproblems). Also, Google. It knows everything. I rely on it at least a hundred times a day for the answers to the most obscure questions and the correct spelling of words that I mess up so badly that even Spell Check doesn’t recognize them (such as convenient and necessary. And, yes, I just Googled those).

Philly. While I was walking though Center City the other day I was reminded of how much I love living here, with access to awesome museums, restaurants and shopping.

Coffee. Without it, I would be even crankier than I usually am and would probably be asleep at my desk by 9 a.m. Relatedly: under eye concealer.

Cake. Because there is nothing better with coffee.

Yoga pants and their universally flattering nature. Although I would be even more grateful if it were acceptable to wear them to work.

Good books. Crap television (i.e. Teen Mom, reality shows on TLC, etc.).

A hot shower, pajamas and a comfy bed. There’s nothing better at the end of the day.

Every single day of the week, that I get to wake up and take on new challenges. Be a mother. Do creative things. Except when those days are Tuesdays. I will never be thankful for Tuesdays.

Yep. I guess I’m pretty darn lucky. I hope you can say the same. Now, go get your food coma on.

 

Charleston (Day Four)

All too soon, our last day in Charleston rolled around. Luckily, there were pastries from WildFlour Pastry and doughnuts from Glazed to dull the pain and carb us up for a final day of exploring.

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Someone got caught with their hand in the donut box!

After three and a half days of sightseeing, we wanted to make sure we built in time for B to do something that she would actually enjoy. Sure, she loved seeing the animals on the plantations and just being out and about in general, but I could tell that she was getting a little antsy from mostly being in her stroller all day. Fortunately, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry was the perfect place for her to get some playtime in.

When we first set her down on the floor in the toddler area, she just sat in the middle of the floor and looked around in awe, as though she couldn’t believe that she was allowed to touch and climb on everything without getting into trouble. Soon, she was off and running.

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All this, for me?!

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The museum also features eight other adorable, interactive exhibits, like a castle, grocery store, pirate ship and water table. We ended up spending the better part of the day there, and I think Chester and I had as much fun as B.

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She loved filling up her shopping cart with onions, which she called apples.

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Stocking up on Cheerios, of course!

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Ready to check-out!

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Captain of the pirate ship

After working up an appetite, we headed to lunch at Jestine’s Kitchen, which is known for its no-frills Southern food. In contrast to Husk, Jestine’s features just the basics—fried chicken, meatloaf, fried green tomatoes, and simple salads. Even at around 3 p.m., there was still a decent lunch crowd, so there was a bit of a wait for a fried chicken platter. But, it was totally worth it.

The rest of the day was just spent walking around town, taking in all the charm.

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Rainbow Row

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The Old Exchange

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Catching the breeze on the waterfront.

Whether you are planning a solo vacation or traveling with kids, Charleston is definitely worth considering. If you fall into the latter category, I would say that the city is definitely family friendly. We saw plenty of families traveling with small children (some even younger than B) and only one of the restaurants we visited lacked a high chair. Be aware that the streets are very narrow (it is an old city, after all) so you would do best to bring a small umbrella stroller and/or baby wearing device. The only bummer for me was that the plantation houses we visited were only accessible by guided tour, so we didn’t get to see the interiors because B just doesn’t have the attention span at this point. But, that just means we’ll have to go back again!

Little B: 14 Months

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As usual, we have had a busy month! Here are a few of the highlights:

Doing

We have made only the tiniest bit of progress on the walking front. When B is cruising along on the furniture, she will let go and fling herself to the closest item (this happens frequently between our couch and the coffee table, which are situated pretty close together). If we can convince her to let go of our hands, she will do so for very brief periods of time.

All told, I think she has taken approximately four steps unassisted. So, I know she can walk, but she just seems scared to do it alone. She gets quite upset when we encourage her to go on her own, so I am just trying to be patient and wait for her to be ready. But, it is frustrating that she won’t just get going already!

She loves to imitate what the grown-ups are doing, such as putting shoes on, brushing hair, or gesturing “come here” to the dogs in the family.

Saying

I have kind of lost track of the new words that she has said. It seems they are coming at a rapid rate, although she will sometimes say something once and then I will never hear it again (this has occurred with the words “butter” and “out,” most recently). She also will respond when we ask her what the cat says, although is sounds more like “woah” than “meow.” Other than that, she seems to just love the sound of her own voice in general, based on the fact that she yells…a lot.

Personality

We have had some teething issues, as she is getting a new tooth on the bottom, but generally, she has been pretty happy. When she isn’t though, she makes sure that we know about it. At times, she is downright demanding. As previously mentioned, she hates when we encourage her to walk on her own. There have been many tantrums on the floor when we let go of her hands or refuse to hand her an item that she has spotted from across the room.

She has been pretty social lately and while she still has her favorite people and loves a routine, she is doing much better around strangers and friends/family that she doesn’t see often.

Milestones

As of October 21st, our household is now a bottle-free zone!

Although B would willingly drink from a straw cup at meals, she seemed to be clinging to her morning and late afternoon bottles. And, by clinging, I mean she would throw a screaming fit if we tried to offer her a drink in a cup at those times. So, I was gearing up for a long battle to break the bottle habit.

But, one morning I decided to try putting her milk in a cup again just to see what happened. My expectations were low as I set it on her tray. She picked it up, sucked it down in five minutes and hasn’t looked back since.

While I am glad she gave up the bottle willingly (and that I don’t have to tote them around when we go out anymore), I do kind of miss the quiet, still moments that those feedings used to give us. And, I wish I had known that the last bottle that I gave B was going to be the final one. I would have savored those little moments more.

Favorite Books

We took our first trip to the library this month and B was pretty proud to receive her very own library card and choose three books from the shelves.

There were several books that B has requested that we read over and over again during the last few weeks. As soon as I close the cover of these new favorites, she does this adorable thing where she grabs the book and places it in my hand as a signal that she wanted me to read it again. I have now memorized Arthur’s Halloween, Where the Wild Things Are, Pippa the Pumpkin Fairy, Edgar Gets Ready for Bed and The Watermelon Seed. It is adorable to see B participating in some of the stories, shaking her head “No” like Max does when the wild things ask him to stay and saying “Boo” when the author describes the faces on Pippa’s pumpkins.

Favorite Foods

Meatloaf with cheese melted on top; Granny’s meatballs; mini penne pasta (I’m glad she has identified another pasta shape that is acceptable); peanut butter toast; pumpkin muffins.

Favorite Things

Elmo, Elmo, Elmo. She wakes up asking for him and can spot him three feet away on the packages of baby food and toothpaste on the shelves at Target. She is completely and utterly obsessed, just like every other kid I’ve ever met.

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At lunch in Charleston with her BFF

She has also been slightly less crazed when we give her a bath and brush her teeth. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that these are her favorite activities, but there are definitely fewer tears associated with these things lately!

Least Favorite Things

Now that it’s colder, B has made her hatred of socks and long sleeved shirts known. She is taking after both me and her Uncle Mike, respectively, on these fronts.

We still aren’t doing to well on the green vegetable front, with the exception of the occasional pea. I’ve tried to sneak broccoli into other foods that she likes (like eggs), but she knows when they are hiding in there.

Fun Experiences

Our trip to Charleston was one of the main highlights of the month. I have been sharing all the details over the course of several posts (here, here and here, with one more to come), but I think you can tell from the photos that B had a great time exploring and eating. She is an excellent travel buddy and we can’t wait for our next adventure.

The rest of the month was filled with all of the typical fall festivities, including a visit to Linvilla Orchards and a trip outside the city to take in the fall foliage in Bucks County.

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Loving the wind in her hair, as we took in the fall foliage from Bowman’s Hill Tower

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What a View!

The weekend before Halloween, we tried to do a Halloween photo shoot with B and Tracy and it was not a success. Although Tracy, made a adorable carrot, B was the most miserable bunny anyone had ever seen.

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The headpiece conceals the tears.

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 Our other baby is such a good sport!

We still celebrated the occasion by going to “Boo at the Zoo.” It was a really adorable event complete with trick-or-treating, a costume parade and other kid-friendly activities. We didn’t torture B by putting her in costume, so she fully enjoyed the experience of collecting treats, peeping at the polar bears and giraffes and chasing the ducks.


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Other than that, our Halloween celebrations were pretty low-key. We skipped trick-or-treating in favor of watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and repeated recitations of Pippa, the Pumpkin Fairy. 

I am so looking forward to all of the festivities of the upcoming holiday season, including B’s first taste of Thanksgiving dinner later this month. Crazy to think that she wasn’t even eating solid foods this time last year!